In the early 90s Phil Collins (in his group “GENESIS”) released “Jesus He Knows Me.” This is a great comment on the televangelists and now for folks like Bentley.
This video is 20 minutes but you should watch it. In this video Bentley and his organization claims that God sends gold dust to people. He claims that gems fall form heaven that sell tens of thousands of dollars. They claim that money appears in wallets and in the bank accounts as miracles from God. They ask for money (80, 800 or even 8000 dollar gifts) and promise blessings. This is the motivation behind Bentley’s movement in my opinion- money. It’s nothing new. Remember when Oral Roberts said that unless you send him money God was going to take him home. Remember what Jesus did to the money changers in the temple?
Bentley claims eye balls can regrow, people can see out of glass eyes, stumps regrow legs, and other insane claims.
The Lakeland Revival or “Florida Healing Outpouring” is the latest Charismatic revival happening that has drawn attention globally and is known for excessive actions. Previous revivals in the news have had people barking like dogs, being slain in the spirit, laughing, and other wild behaviors. This latest one began in April this year when Evangelist Todd Bentley of “Fresh Fire Ministries” came to preach in Florida in Lakeland and has been there for three months. This revival appears on GOD TV and it is said that 140,000 people have visited and over 1 million have viewed it on line.
If you watched the video I just posted before this article you should be shocked. This is not a movement of God. Bentley kicks people in the face and knocks them down. He even claims to have raised the dead. He can not show evidence of this of course. Imagine if someone were dead and raised. They would appear live to proof it in a heart beat.
Who is Bentley? He says he was delivered from drugs and a wild life by Christ at age 17. When he preaches he doesn’t focus much on salvation or teaching the Bible but rather miracles and supernatural acts.
He claims he has been to Heaven and met with Paul the Apostle. He claims to have visited with an angel called Emma who gave him a vision of gold dust which helped him financially. He kicks, smacks, and knocks people down during his faith healings. Reporters have been unable to verify his claims. The revival has raised a lot of money and although he claims to be willing to show the books he has yet to do this.
What problems are found with Todd? His excesses are not Biblical or true. His type of behavior offers false hope to sick people. He leads people astray and in my opinion pushes people away from the true gospel which is salvation found in Christ Jesus. Todd’s theology is not only inaccurate but is false.
A recent major survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has really gotten people talking. Americans are increasingly tolerate of other religious ideas which makes them uncomfortable in saying there is a ‘one true path.’ Commentators debate the results.
The struggle is how can we be tolerate and not mean spirited and yet hold to the foundation of our faith?
One extreme is to say that because we are right about God then we mock or ridicule (either outright or under the surface) the faiths of others. I have heard mean spirited comments from ministers in pulpits that I believe are wrong.
The other extreme is to say that we simply can’t think we are the ‘right’ ones and that perhaps there is truth in all religions and we simply look at things differently. Those who speak in this way talk of toleration but really have a universal approach to faith. I also believe this approach is wrong.
The chart above shows some of the summaries that are making interesting discussion. I’ve heard some conservative commentators dismiss the report and say that Evangelical Christians would not agree with the first statement as the survey says. They argue that when the survey said “religion” the responder must have thought “Denominations” and not world religions (Buddhist, Muslim, etc). That is fancy footwork but I don’t buy it. I bet the average person in the average pew when in private is struggling with the above issues.
How would you respond to the above two issues? I would like the second one to be a little clearer. The first goes to the heart of the gospel. Do we believe Jesus is salvation? And so does this mean we also think people may be saved in another way? Some religions teach works salvation (not supported in the Bible) or salvation redefined (reincarnation, etc) or no salvation at all. So can they all be right? Mormonism teaches that all Christian denominations are apostates and that the Mormon faith is the only one true faith and when you look at their faith system it is very different than historic Christianity. One apologist I heard said that it is more likely that we are all wrong and there is no salvation/God/etc than that we are all right! The truth is that each religion has so many different claims about God, faith and salvation that there is no way they can be all right. It isn’t fair to a Buddhist to say that they have the same view that we have as a Christian. On the first category I would have to side with historic Christianity and NT theology that there is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ.
On the second category I would like more to the question. The statement says that there is more than one way to interpret the teachings of my religion. How would I answer. “That depends what you mean.” It would depend on whether we are talking about the core (Jesus, God, Trinity) or specific issues like creation, end of the world, church government, women in ministry, etc. Obviously there are many issues Christians disagree. And there are many issues that are core to us. Then again only one view is right and the other views would be incorrect on even smaller issues but the trouble would be that on some cases we may think we are the right one but we may not be able to know for sure until the day we get to heaven! For example I believe my view of the end of the world is correct as far as I understand it (admitting many details we can’t know for sure) but I could be wrong! Yet issues like the deity of Christ are not up for debate and are key to who we are as believers.
Visit these two links and see what you think!
Spend 10 minutes watching this video and you will have a new understanding not only of this movement but even Tom Cruise!